Although Lewis’ official population is only about 3,500 residents, it is crowded with tourists from all over the mid-Atlantic region for most of the year.
Lewis is close to some of the state’s most popular beach resorts, and Delaware, as well as neighboring Maryland and Virginia, has many state parks.
Southern Delaware is known for its excellent fishing and surfing. It is also dotted with various historical sites, many of which date back to the War of Independence more than two centuries ago.
Here are 15 things to do in and around Lewis, Delaware.
1. Henlopon Point State Park
Cape Henlopen State Park is one of the largest outdoor recreation destinations in the area. It is open from sunrise to sunset every year from the beginning of March to the end of November.
Swimming, fishing, surfing and biking are popular park pastimes, and there are ample campgrounds for those who prefer a night under the stars rather than a hotel.
The park’s beaches can get crowded during peak hours, but they’re decidedly more laid-back and less developed than those in Rehoboth Beach.
Cape Henlopen Lighthouse is worth checking out, and the park also hosts some annual festivals.
2. Cannonball House
For history buffs on a budget, Lewis’ Cannonball House would be a great place to get a historical overview of the area without breaking the bank.
Located on Front Street near the city center, it was originally built in the mid-1700s.
Over the years, the historic house has played various roles and is now home to the town’s historic society. It’s full of interesting exhibits dealing with the Revolutionary War and the British bombing of the town during the War of 1812.
The house is open every day and admission is only a few dollars per person.
3. The Lewis Pirates
For vacationers traveling with young children, there is no better sailing experience than dressing up as a pirate and heading out to open water.
The Pirates of Lewis is a unique area attraction that offers tours for families that usually last a little longer than an hour.
Tours take place on a large ship staffed by enthusiastic and safety-conscious staff. Activities include water fights, treasure hunts and chorus, which are often the most memorable experiences of children’s holidays.
Remember that for every four children, at least one adult must be with you, and tickets are available quickly during peak hours.
4. Lightship Overfalls
From the early 19th century to the mid-20th century, more than 150 lightships were built along the mid-Atlantic coast.
Lightship Overfalls, one of the few remaining, is now open to the public after a major renovation.
The ship has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places for nearly a decade. During its career, it was used as a mobile beacon to warn ships of dangerous reefs and their proximity to land at night and in low visibility.
The boat is open seasonally and offers professional guided tours.
5. Cape May-Lewes Ferry
Across Delaware Bay, the distance between Lewis and Cape May, NJ is just under 20 miles.
The Cape May-Lewes Fairy takes about 90 minutes to cross the bay and offers riders some of the most beautiful ocean and land views they could possibly see during their trip.
The ferry can carry nearly 100 cars and more than 600 passengers at the same time. There is indoor and outdoor seating, and hot and cold drinks and refreshments are also sold.
Dolphins and various seabirds are often seen along the way.
6. The Gate of Fame
Rehoboth Beach and Lewis have always had a thriving arts scene, and both towns have their fair share of unique galleries highlighting the work of local and regional artists.
Celebrity Gate is a unique arts attraction located at the headquarters of the Rehoboth Arts Alliance.
As the name suggests, the exhibition consists of doors bearing the names of artists dating back to the founding of the Union in the 1930s.
Area art lovers may recognize some famous names, and the Union’s permanent exhibits are also worth checking out, including paintings and sculptures.
7. Zwaanendael Museum
Although it’s one of the hardest reading spots in southern Delaware, the Zwaanendael Museum is a worthwhile place to spend an hour or two on for those looking for a fun and educational crash course in the history of the area .
Much of the museum’s exhibits relate to its maritime, military and cultural heritage. There are many exhibits dealing with Dutch influence in the area, dating back to the 1600s.
The museum is open year-round, but hours vary seasonally, so check the schedule on their website before making a special trip.
8. Bethany Blues
Lewes, Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach are all known for their abundance of dining options, and Bethany Blues is one of the area’s most popular grill restaurants.
The restaurant’s founders traveled around in search of the best barbecue recipes in the country, and most guests agree that they managed to do so.
Their own BBQ brand features the best roasts in Texas, Tennessee and the Carolinas, and their menu has everything a great Q lover could expect, like ribs, charred ends and pulled pork sandwiches .
They’re also known for savory sides like macaroni cheese and country-style green beans.
9. Junction and Breakwater Trail
The Junction and Breakwater Trail stretches nearly 6 miles between Cape Henlopen State Park and Lewis Beach.
The trail follows a now derelict railway that was the state’s main form of transportation for much of the 17th and 18th centuries. It winds through a variety of natural environments, including forests, fields and coastal marshes.
The trail is free for walkers, runners and cyclists. It’s relatively flat and suitable for traveling with children and other adults who are in poor health.
10. Delaware Waterfront State Park
Delaware’s beaches and resort towns are generally quieter and less developed than neighboring Maryland.
Delaware Seashore State Park covers nearly 3,000 acres along the coast and is a short drive from both Lewis and Rehoboth beaches.
While swimming and sunbathing are popular park activities, surfers and anglers are also popular.
Surf fishing is especially good in the fall, when striped bass is most active, and in designated areas, vehicles can be pulled directly to the beach.
The park also hosts a variety of fun annual events, such as the sandcastle building competition in July.
11. Big Fish BBQ
From crab and flounder to clams and oysters, the Delaware Coast is known for its fresh, seasonal seafood.
Big Fish Grill was established in 1997. Since then, it has been rated as the best seafood restaurant in the area.
That’s quite a differentiator considering the competition, and they do this by using the freshest ingredients paired with traditional and modern recipes.
For those who don’t like seafood, they also offer steaks, burgers and pizza. They also offer an impressive selection of beer, wine and spirits, many of which are locally produced.
Big Fish Grill is located on the coastal road in Rehoboth Beach.
12. Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats
Dogfish Head Brewery is The First State’s best-known beer brand. Despite their humble beginnings, their beers are now shipped to foam lovers in the area.
Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats has been in business in Rehoboth since 1995. In addition to delicious food and locally made beers and craft spirits, it often hosts live entertainment on warm spring and summer evenings.
Their beers range from light and crisp to dark malts, and their menu includes many gourmet treats that pair perfectly with beer, such as pizza, burgers and chicken wings.
Even for beach-loving vacationers, spending too many days in the sun and sea can get a little too much after a while.
Since its founding in 1962, Funland has been a popular family attraction, like an amusement park, boardwalk and video arcade all rolled into one.
Funland opens in the second week of May and usually runs until the end of summer.
Many of Funland’s original visitors now take their families on vacation every year. It can draw large crowds, so if you want to avoid the crowds, consider visiting when it first opens on the day.
14. Tanger Outlets
Tax-free shopping is a bonus for visitors to the first state. Many residents from neighboring states like Maryland and Pennsylvania travel specially to save on things like cars, clothes and electronics.
Tanger Outlets have been a favorite stop for thrifty shoppers for decades, and there are several locations in Rehoboth Beach, just minutes from Lewis.
It’s not unheard of for designer brands like Gap, Adidas and Eddie Bauer to save more than 50%.
Outlets also have many restaurants. They’re a particularly popular destination when the weather isn’t conducive to a day at the beach.
15. Lupo Italian Kitchen
Located on Rehoboth Avenue in Rehoboth Beach, Lupo Italian Kitchen is a favorite dinner destination for busy travelers looking for traditional Italian fare.
Lupo is known for its classic dishes such as chicken and veal parmesan, fried calamari and spaghetti bolognese.
They also have many seafood dishes, as well as delicious salads and appetizers.
It’s a bit more upscale than many of the nearby restaurants, but most tourists find it great value for its cozy atmosphere, generous portions, and relatively reasonable prices.
To avoid dinner rush, consider eating early before it gets busy.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Lewis (DE), Delaware
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